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Yeast Infection (Vulvovaginal Candidiasis)
General Gynaecology 

A vaginal yeast infection, also known as vaginal thrush or vulvovaginal candidiasis, is a common condition. About 75% of women will have a yeast infection in their lifetime, especially between the ages of 15 and 50. 

It is caused by a yeast, Candida albicans, that grows naturally within the vagina but causes an infection when it grows out of control. Vaginal yeast infections are not considered sexually transmitted infections (STI), but they can also be caused by sexual contact.

Symptoms of yeast infection

The following are symptoms of yeast infection:

  • Vaginal discomfort and itching
  • A thick, white discharge with a ‘cottage cheese’ appearance and yeasty smell
  • Swelling of the vagina or vulva
  • Stinging or burning sensation during sex or urination
  • Soreness 
  • Redness
  • Rash or splits on genital skin

Cause of yeast infection

Yeast infections are caused when there is an overgrowth of normal yeast in your vagina. This happens when the chemistry of the vagina is altered or changed. These changes may be caused by any of the following:

  • Medications like antibiotics, cortisone, etc.
  • Pregnancy
  • Changes in your hormone levels due to oral contraceptive use or menstruation.
  • A weak immune system
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Stress
  • Vulval skin conditions like eczema.
  • Natural reaction to another person’s genital chemistry


Treatment of yeast infection

Treatment aims to reduce the number and growth of yeast within the vagina. Treatment options include vaginal pessaries or antifungal creams/ointments. These are inserted or applied in the vagina for some days. These medications may be gotten as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. However, some may require a prescription.

In some cases, oral tablets may also be prescribed. Oral medications are not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

Prevention of yeast infection

The following measures can help prevent yeast infection:

  • Avoid underwear made from synthetic fibres. Wear cotton or cotton-crutch underwear instead. 
  • Change your underwear daily.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting underwear and clothing.
  • Avoid douching 
  • Avoid using scented bath products (bath salts, bubble baths, soaps), scented tampons, pads, and toilet paper, and laundry products.
  • Wash your vulva with only plain water and mild soap (if necessary).
  • Always wipe from front to back when you use the toilet.
  • Change your pads and tampons every 4-8 hours. Wash menstrual cups and sex toys according to instructions.
  • If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar levels under control.
  • Take antibiotics only when prescribed, and ensure you complete your regimen.

You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 07 3188 5000.

This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.

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